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Non-human Welfare : Well-being, Health and Longevity in the Animal Context

Behdadi, Dorna (2011) FPRM01 20111
Practical Philosophy
Abstract
This thesis aims to answer the question of what quality of life is constituted of in a non-human context. Or differently put, ‘what is it that makes an animal's life worth living?’ In the procedure of reviewing this question other concepts and issues are addressed. One of these being the composite concept of 'animal welfare', mainly due to its popularity and frequent use in discussions and referrals to the goodness or badness of animal lives. For instance, it appears as if animal welfare may encompass concepts like quality of life, health, good production or the necessary conditions for the above. The other issue being dealt with, apart from quality of life and health, is the inquiry whether, all other things being equal, a longer life is... (More)
This thesis aims to answer the question of what quality of life is constituted of in a non-human context. Or differently put, ‘what is it that makes an animal's life worth living?’ In the procedure of reviewing this question other concepts and issues are addressed. One of these being the composite concept of 'animal welfare', mainly due to its popularity and frequent use in discussions and referrals to the goodness or badness of animal lives. For instance, it appears as if animal welfare may encompass concepts like quality of life, health, good production or the necessary conditions for the above. The other issue being dealt with, apart from quality of life and health, is the inquiry whether, all other things being equal, a longer life is preferable or not.
Thus, the first problem presented is the concept of health and its place and definition in a nonhuman context. After considering three main theories of health from the human context and one animal-oriented concept of health, this thesis argues for a multi-factorial and holistic approach. On this view animal health is defined as being constituted by both biomedical health, functioning and subjective well-being.
The second, and main, issue to be addressed is the one concerning animal quality of life, i.e. what has final positive or negative value for an animal. These are the components of quality of life, as opposed to instrumental values or means to quality of life. After presenting a large variety of theories of well-being they are all criticized. In the end a pure hedonistic approach is proposed, where it is claimed that what ultimately is in the interest of an animal is to have pleasurable feelings and to avoid suffering. However, the importance of instrumental values in the practical realm is emphasized (for examples see below).
The third issue to be dealt with is longevity. This is to a large extent an unaddressed issue in the animal sciences and in discussions of animal welfare. This thesis defends a view where, given a decent level of well-being, a longer life is preferable to a shorter one and in the interest of the animal.
Lastly, the relationships between the concepts of health, longevity and QoL as proposed are sorted out along with an illustration of how these approaches may support one another in a more practical sense, taking into consideration also states of seemingly important instrumental values like preference satisfaction, the meeting of innate needs and the realization of strongly motivated behaviours. (Less)
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author
Behdadi, Dorna
supervisor
organization
course
FPRM01 20111
year
type
H1 - Master's Degree (One Year)
subject
language
English
id
8170076
date added to LUP
2015-11-12 15:50:22
date last changed
2015-11-12 15:50:22
@misc{8170076,
  abstract     = {This thesis aims to answer the question of what quality of life is constituted of in a non-human context. Or differently put, ‘what is it that makes an animal's life worth living?’ In the procedure of reviewing this question other concepts and issues are addressed. One of these being the composite concept of 'animal welfare', mainly due to its popularity and frequent use in discussions and referrals to the goodness or badness of animal lives. For instance, it appears as if animal welfare may encompass concepts like quality of life, health, good production or the necessary conditions for the above. The other issue being dealt with, apart from quality of life and health, is the inquiry whether, all other things being equal, a longer life is preferable or not.
Thus, the first problem presented is the concept of health and its place and definition in a nonhuman context. After considering three main theories of health from the human context and one animal-oriented concept of health, this thesis argues for a multi-factorial and holistic approach. On this view animal health is defined as being constituted by both biomedical health, functioning and subjective well-being. 
The second, and main, issue to be addressed is the one concerning animal quality of life, i.e. what has final positive or negative value for an animal. These are the components of quality of life, as opposed to instrumental values or means to quality of life. After presenting a large variety of theories of well-being they are all criticized. In the end a pure hedonistic approach is proposed, where it is claimed that what ultimately is in the interest of an animal is to have pleasurable feelings and to avoid suffering. However, the importance of instrumental values in the practical realm is emphasized (for examples see below). 
The third issue to be dealt with is longevity. This is to a large extent an unaddressed issue in the animal sciences and in discussions of animal welfare. This thesis defends a view where, given a decent level of well-being, a longer life is preferable to a shorter one and in the interest of the animal. 
Lastly, the relationships between the concepts of health, longevity and QoL as proposed are sorted out along with an illustration of how these approaches may support one another in a more practical sense, taking into consideration also states of seemingly important instrumental values like preference satisfaction, the meeting of innate needs and the realization of strongly motivated behaviours.},
  author       = {Behdadi, Dorna},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Non-human Welfare : Well-being, Health and Longevity in the Animal Context},
  year         = {2011},
}